Ramsgate's dramatic return to form continued with a decisive win against higher-placed Chipstead.
The Rams had the better of the early exchanges, with Tom Chapman forcing a great reaction block from Chipstead ‘keeper Michael Sibley, shortly before an injury in the 6th minute saw Chapman replaced by his cousin Rory Smith. This change seemed to unsettle the Rams initially and returning home goalkeeper Luke Watkins made a spectacular save from Jake Robinson in the 13th minute.
Ramsgate soon got back in their stride and put the ball in the visitors’ net 10 minutes later, however this was disallowed by the referee for an infringement in the area (although careful scrutiny of the match footage has not identified one). This seemed to inspire the Rams and once Captain Liam Dickson had opened the scoring with a header from a corner in the 32nd minute for his third goal in successive matches (pictured above, with Dickson’s head bandaged), the home side dominated the game. Rory Smith headed home an Alfie Paxman free kick after a further 5 minutes of pressure, giving Ramsgate a 2-0 lead at the interval.
Chipstead tried to raise their game in the 2nd half with Watkins having to hit the deck smartly in quick succession to turn the ball around the post, but only 5 minutes after the re-start Paxman completed the scoring when latching onto a poor clearance and outpacing the Chips defence to make it 3-0. Ramsgate continued to make the bulk of the chances, continuing to press the Chips’ defence and keeping Sibley very busy, and despite the visitors making three changes they could make no impact on the defiant Rams.
Ramsgate: Luke Watkins, Jacob Mensah, Jack Penny, Liam Dickson, George Crimmen, Ollie Gray, Tom Chapman (Rory Smith), Tijan Jadama, Aaron Millbank, Kyron Lightfoot, Alfie Paxman. Unused subs: Luke Wheatley, Tom Hickman, Sam Lawford, Shannon Harris.
The win sees the Rams go up one place in the table, moving past Faversham, and on Wednesday they travel to West Sussex to face League leaders Lewes.
Updated 20:33 - 10 Mar 2018 by Martin Able